What You Probably Don’t Know About Motorcycles

What You Probably Don’t Know About Motorcycles

Since 1885, when Wilhelm Maybach and Gottlieb Daimler built the first motorcycle in Germany, these two-wheeled vehicles have come a very long way. It used to be called a reitwagen, a riding car in rough translation, with an engine of 0.5 horsepower and a top speed of 11 kilometers per hour.

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In 1899, the first production motorcycle was made by Hildebrand and Wolfmuller and it featured a two-cylinder engine that delivered 2.5 horsepower. This one topped out at 45 kilometers per hour. Compared to those first models, motorcycles today are truly powerful iron horses.

Over the past 132 years, the motorcycle industry has grown to serve a very diverse crowd of riding enthusiasts. Here are some things you probably didn’t know about this industry.


The Californian state has the highest motorcycle sales at 78,610 which is 13.7% of the total motorcycle sales in the United States. Cali is followed by Florida with 41,720 new motorcycles sold, and by Texas with 41,420. Even though it is home to the annual bike pilgrimage in Sturgis, South Dakota sold only 2,620 new motorcycles in 2015.

California still tops all states in new motorcycle sales. However, this is due to the fact that it is the most populous state. Therefore, its sales represent 2.9 bikes per 100 inhabitants, which is below the national average of 3.2 motorcycles per 100 citizens.

Wyoming scores 7.0 bikes per 100 individuals. So, there are actually fewer motorcycles in the east, as the most are in the midwest.

Putting makeup on bikers

In 2014, 14% of motorcycle owners in the United States were women, which is up from 6% in 1990, and 10% in 2009. Harley is struggling due to the fact that the number of middle-aged males, which were its core customers, has dropped from 94% in 2009 to 86% in 2014.

In order to cope with the new situation, the manufacturer introduced the Street 500 and 750 modes, while Polaris came up with the Scout and Scout Sixty models, in order to attract the new riders on the market and keep the sales growing. According to the IHS Automotive data, Harley-Davidson has a 60.2% share of women riders.

The market is getting older

Compared to 1990, when the median age of the typical bike owner was 32, in 2009, it went up to 40. Now, the average is 47 years old. Even though Harley’s sales have been slipping in the past years, its sales are still maintaining a 55.1% share of the 35+ male rider demographic. 

The decline of riders under 18 is what bothers manufacturers the most, as it has fallen since 1990 from 8% to 2%. Buyers in the range of 18 and 24 years old have decreased from 16% to 6%. Apparently, the motorcycle industry is growing old. As a result, a question arises as to where will the buyers come from if the industry cannot attract younger people anymore?

Well-educated and rich

Things have changed a lot in the last decades. About 72% of motorcycle owners today, in the United States, have at least some college degree or postgraduate education. Almost all are also employed, and about 15% of them are retired.

Also, it seems that being a motorcyclist has become an expensive hobby. Around 24% of bike owner households earned between $50,000 and $74,999 in 2014. About 65% of these earned at least $50,000. In 2014, the median household income of motorcycle owners was $62,200.

The highway comes first

74% of all the new bikes sold in the United States in 2015 were on-highway motorcycles. 8.4 million motorcycles that were registered in the United States in 2014 were more than two times the number from 1990. In fact, these two-wheeled vehicles represent 3% of the total vehicle registration in the U.S.

An important industry for all

When it comes to the American economy, the motorcycle industry certainly plays a serious part. It actually contributed $24.1 billion in economic value through service, sales, licensing fees, and taxes paid, in 2015. What is more, it employed over 81,567 people.

Other industries

Other companies benefit from the motorcycle industry as well. A biker will not only purchase the vehicle, but also a protective outfit, a helmet, gloves, boots, security gear, and various accessories. Therefore, there are many manufacturing companies that produce and sell various motorcycle gear and clothing with great sales numbers.

Of course, some of the motorcycle producers also create accessories for their customers. Still, not every rider wants to spend so much on these items. Purchasing from a very well-known company can also mean you will have to pay extra money because of the brand. 

Fortunately, the market is very rich when it comes to motorcycle equipment and accessories, so there are plenty of options to select from.

For example, this article contains a list of top-rated affordable alarms. Here, you can find the most recommended models, specifications, as well as customer reviews. You will not have a problem finding the items that best suit your needs and budget.